Re: RARA-AVIS: hb list

a.n.smith (
Thu, 30 Dec 1999 08:34:37 -0600

>Elmore Leonard, too, but didn't see Leonard
>on any of the lists. I'm a bit surprised nobody else thinks that much of
>Leonard. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to start an argument. After
>all, to each his own, right? I'm just curious why.

I had Leonard on my list, and I think he's one of the most important hb writers, following the steps of the usual big 3 or 4. But you raise an interesting question as to why he doesn't come up more often. The only thing I can think of is that he's so much with us, still writing, and his body of work and output is much larger than the "classic" writers of 60 years ago. Chandler and Hammett and Cain? Not all that much, really. Ross Macdonald? A lot of books, but most of them in one series. Elmore Leonard? Almost yearly, no continuing series (just recurring characters) for nearly thirty years (excluding the westerns, which take you back to the 50s). He has affected contemporary hardboiled language so much, that perhaps his impact will be seen as greater once there's no more new work and it's time to evaluate the influence.

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